TOWN OF HUNTINGTON, New York, July 3
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Town of Huntington officials approved a proposal to execute an agreement with TrueSimple LLC, an organizational improvement practice, in hopes of balancing the load of emergency medical services to help “take stress off of neighboring fire departments,” A.J. Carter, town spokesman, said.
“The Huntington Community First Aid Squad handles emergency calls, but when they get too many calls and can’t handle them all they call the fire departments – like Melville, Huntington Manor and Huntington – to help them out,” Carter said.
The Huntington Community First Aid Squad has provided ambulances and EMS workers to the residents of Huntington since 1967 with its over 280 volunteers as of 2011. Today, the Huntington squad is the second busiest in all of Suffolk County, handling close to 6,000 calls per year – according to Andrea Golinsky, squad spokesperson.
“[There have been times] when we had four ambulances out on the road and two of them are down so when the fifth call came in we had people to work, but no ambulance to put them in,” Golinsky, who has been with the squad for 47 years, said. “We do take 98.9 percent of the calls we receive, which, when you’re handling almost 6,000 calls per year, all with volunteers, is still pretty good.
The money to fund a study would come from summonses issued for illegal parking – such as in a fire zone or in front of a fire hydrant and other fire-related zones. Up to $13,900 would be used to fund the study, which will begin as soon as a formal contract between the town and TrueSimple is agreed upon, according to Carter.
“We felt like a proper use of the money would be to help explore if there’s any way we can help balance the load,” Carter said. “We’ll have a professional eye take a look at the situation and explore if there’s any way to improve it.”
This allowance is permitted by local law 4-202, which amended Huntington’s traffic code to allow for money collected from certain summonses to be utilized in order to enhance recruitment and training of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technician personnel.
These funds are handled by the Huntington Firefighter/Emergency Medical Services Incentive Recruitment Enhancement Association (F.I.R.E.), which sponsors programs to train and enhance volunteer workers.
As for the study itself, should it come to pass, TrueSimple will review existing agency and inter-agency response plans and practices to better understand their impacts to both the agency and the EMS system at large. TrueSimple will review the agency service demands and existing system capacity in hopes to find ways to improve the service. Recommendations will be forwarded to the town for consideration.
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills (Thursday, July 3, 2014; A4)